July 23, 2008

A celebrity death that I did not cause.

Bozo The Clown - RIP

I had planned to write a Bozo the Clown tribute today because I recently caught a snippet about Bozo the Clown dying. What I didn't realize is that there are a Bazillion Bozo the Clowns here to amuse you on Planet Erff.

The skeptic in me is beginning to question if the same is true about Santa Claus but that's a different story.

The one that died 20 days ago, Larry Harmon, was perhaps the most pivotal Bozo (PS - Pivotal Bozo should be a band name), but truth be told, I never even saw him don the red nose. Harmon was an actor hired by Capitol Records to appear as Bozo at promotional appearances in the 50's and eventually bought the rights to the Bozo name. He was then able to get Bozo on TV screen across the country. This was not so much a syndication as it was a franchise, meaning there were multiple Bozos being produced at the local market level as opposed to one Bozo show being produced and broadcast everywhere. Apparently, [MINDBLOWN] Romper Room followed the same model [/MINDBLOWN]. So, Larry Harmon was not my Bozo. My Bozo, as it turns out, was several Bozos.

Growing up on the Jersey Shore meant my television screen was covered by both Philadelphia and New York markets, but neither had a Bozo. In 1989, Philly 57 became my Bozo headquarters. Ok, I was 11 by then and probably too old to watch clowns, but this was novel and fascinating to me, and I couldn't resist. I loved watching the kids fail at Bozo's grand prize game and also got a real kick out of the phrase "Wowie Kazowie!" which I still say occasionally. I am also sort of obsessed with dudes that dress up in masks or costumes and transform themselves into characters. It turns out that there was not one, but two Bozos in the City of Brotherly Love. In 1990 the Hollywood-Bozo-out-on-loan, Deon Aumier, got homesick and made a seamless transition to the Cameraman-turned-Clown, Bob McCone. McCone continued as Bozo until 1994 when the show went off the air in Philly. This is Bob McCone's story of Bozo.

I'm not sure what happened to Aumier, but obviously, Bob McCone is still alive. Or at least he is until I hit "Publish Post."

Here goes...

Larry Harmon (January 2, 1925 - July 3, 2008)

[update 2:47 pm]

A loyal BaTR reader (who will remain nameless as she refuses to leave a comment in the comment section) asks:

"OK, so you're not guilty of murdering Bozo with your blog. But tell me: Did you ever mention Estelle Getty?!"

The unfortunate truth is, Yes. I mentioned the Golden Girls in last months' Sex in the City review. I did not mention any of the girls specifically by name so the Murderous RoBeast Angel of Death decided to randomly choose Estelle Getty. I am really sorry. I love the Girls of Gold and Ma was my favorite. You know I would have preferred it to be one of the Sex in the City broads.

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